Mar 27, 2012

Who are UC’s ‘star’ faculty and staff?

Whether five years out of school or 40, it's possible that one of your fondest associations with UC to this day is that favorite professor who left a lasting impression on you. In some way, shape or form, he or she inspired you to chase your dreams. And without a doubt, you wouldn't be where you are today without them.

They span all generations of UC graduates and there's certainly at least one in every major. They're the professors whose classes filled up first during open registration, whose lectures captivated the attention of every student in the room, whose support system extended far beyond the walls of their classroom. It's likely they even received one of UC's distinguished faculty awards when you were one of their students.

At UC, such top notch educators are everywhere...and no one remembers and respects them more than our alumni. By virtue of their long tenure and a strong referral rate among their prior students, many of them have touched countless lives over the years and in many cases, continue to keep in touch with past students even years after they’ve left campus.

"UC Magazine" maintains an archive of "favorite professor" testimonials. Help us build upon this list of “UC’s Star Faculty & Staff” – past and present – who in many cases, are the missing link between alumni who may have lost touch with their alma mater over the years.

Fill out UC Magazine's form or comment below and tell us who stands out above the rest when you think back to your days at UC. How did their influence, both inside and outside the classroom, shape your student and post-graduate life? 

Mar 23, 2012

“Where is My Uniform??!!”


Myron Hughes, Executive
Director, UC Alumni Association

The Bearcats' appearance in last night's Sweet Sixteen tournament game was met with unbridled red and black pride from coast to coast. Myron Hughes, executive director of the UC Alumni Association and '86 grad, shares his lingering emotions from the trip to Boston and his heartfelt appreciation for Bearcat alumni and fans everywhere.


Hughes' excitement for Bearcats Basketball
stems from his former days as a UC player.

When I played basketball for the Bearcats in the 1980s, we had some good, tough teams and played some big games, but we never made it to the NCAA Tournament. I’m sure that’s partly why I’ve had the recent urge to suit up and get back on the floor. Last night I actually started to report to the scorer’s table so I could bang against Sullinger for a while. Yes, the atmosphere, excitement and intensity have been that unbelievable!

The outcome of the much anticipated Ohio State rematch wasn’t what we wanted, but the season exceeded our expectations, our team made us very proud, and I’m just as pumped the day after the game as I was before tip-off. That’s because of the UC fans! They came to Boston in great numbers, wearing their Bearcat gear, and ready to roll! There were UC people here from all generations — senior citizens providing “veteran leadership” (including three members of the 1961-62 National Championship teams!), former classmates of mine, young alums, little kids — you name it, they came to support their Bearcats in Boston, just as they had done in New York for the BIG EAST Tournament and in Nashville for our wins over Texas and Florida State.

So my two thoughts today are:  1) How great it is to be at UC right now!, and  2) How grateful I am for the pride and passion of our alumni family. Thanks to all Bearcats everywhere!!!

I am Proudly Cincinnati,
Myron Hughes

How were you feeling throughout the Bearcats' trek to the Sweet 16? Comment below!

Mar 22, 2012

Bearcats & Buckeyes: A Match-up Made in Heaven, Part 2

One might think today’s Bearcats vs. Buckeyes NCAA match-up wouldn't be so “sweet” a tradition for couples divided by their opposing alma mater allegiances. But for a few brave souls who have made one of life’s greatest commitments to one of their proclaimed "rivals", today’s battle of the bUCkeyes may actually prove to be – like them – more of a match-up made in heaven.


Today’s exclusive “Sweet Sixteen” blog post series brings you an inside look at how six devoted Bearcat/Buckeye couples are preparing for tonight’s big game and not letting one of the tournament’s most celebrated match-ups come between them. Enjoy their spirited (and sometimes hilarious) responses below. If you’re facing a similar “house-divided” dilemma under your own roof, consider taking their advice before tonight’s big tip-off. As one couple said: "There will be other games."


And of course, at the risk of losing the attention of any Buckeyes reading this post (not to mention spoiling our unbiased credibility)…we must stand committed to our own allegiance and say, “Go Bearcats!”



Meet our couples…

Adam (UC) & Melissa (OSU) Kozzin
Zorya (UC) & Lauren (OSU) Kluska
Ryan (UC) & Mary (OSU) Nicley


One a Bearcat, the other a Buckeye…how did you possibly meet, much less fall in love?  

Melissa Kozzin: Adam and I actually met online via JDate.com. We ARE an online success story and will be married 4 years this April!

Although raised by OSU grads, Lauren Kuska attended UC
as an undergrad before attending OSU for Pharmacy school.
No matter the outcome, Thursday’s game is a “win-win” for her.
Zorya Kluska: We met at a mutual set of (Bearcat) friends’ graduation party down on Main St. in 2004 (back when there was some night life). Lauren was back in town (she grew up in Cincinnati) for her summer from pharmacy school at OSU. That, coupled with growing up in a Buckeye household, makes her a Buckeye fan. I was a few years into my career in Cincinnati. Despite overlapping as undergrads at UC for 3 years, both being Greek and frequenting the same establishments (e.g. Uncle Woody's), we never met previously. We were introduced that night and I asked her out, and we've been happily married now for 6 years.

Mary Nicley: My husband and I did not know each other during our college days…probably a good thing! We met at work and dated for several years and almost 10 years later, this September, we have been happily married!  


How are you feeling about Thursday’s big game? Any “parting” words? 

Ryan and Mary Nicley’s Bearcat vs. Buckeye rivalry
 is “exciting and all in good fun.”
Melissa Kozzin: Adam and I have some choice words for the upcoming game on Thursday, but may the best team win!

Zorya Kluska: I'm stoked, but also a little concerned. The last few UC games have been exciting but nail-biters, not leaving a lot of room for error. I really hope the team that played Syracuse shows up (vs. the team that played Louisville in the Big East Championship).

Lauren Kluska: I'm actually kind of dreading it! I grew up a Buckeye fan, raised by Xavier and OSU grads and even followed in many of my family members’ footsteps and attended Pharmacy school there.  I have deep roots at OSU and certainly have Scarlet and Gray in my blood. I also went to UC for 3 years for undergrad.  I attended CCM as a ballet major my first year, and eventually changed my major to pre-pharmacy.  UC is an amazing school with wonderful people.  We have a great core group of friends who are all Bearcat alums, and we tailgate and travel to watch the Bearcats together frequently. 

I am a big Bearcat fan, as long as they are not playing the Bucks, so I am torn. Mix in some OSU-hating Bearcat friends and it gets complicated! Someone told me it is a "win-win" for me, and I really am proud to have both my teams represented in the Sweet 16!

Mary Nicley: I am excited about the game this Thursday. To be quite honest, I follow Ohio State football a lot more closely than I do their basketball team, so I'm not sure how this rivalry is going to play out.  If I had some "parting words" it would be "O-H-I-O" all the way!!!!!!  My husband on the other hand, is a man of few words.  He just says "may the best school win.” 


How do you plan to watch the big game?

Melissa Kozzin: In our respective school’s gear, I’m sure, we plan to be positioned securely to our respective sides of the couch, with a possible bowl of snacks to SHARE in the middle (as a safe divider!)

Zorya Kluska: I was going to try to convince her to watch the game with our Bearcat friends, but she wouldn't bite (Lauren: I was dreading the hating from a certain group of people!). As we have 2 daughters under 4, and they made the game so late (again!) we'll be watching together on our couch (Lauren: and screaming at the TV!)

Mary Nicley: We will most likely just watch the game at home since we have 2 small children…which is fine because sometimes I can get a little loud during the games.  Yet, he always seems to stay calm and cool.  We seem to balance each other out in that area.  


Who do you think will bring home the win?   

Melissa Kozzin: I know that this is for the UC Alumni Association, but I can’t root against my school – GO BUCKS!!!!!

Zorya Kluska: UC of course! 

Lauren Kluska: Hmm probably OSU, but would be thrilled to see UC advance! Should I just plead the 5th on this one??

Mary Nicley: For me, I believe Ohio State will bring home the win and it will probably be in true Ohio State fashion and come down to a nail biter in the last few seconds of the game.  My husband says he knows, not thinks, that UC will bring home the win.  As you can see, it is truly a house divided!  

What advice would you offer to other couples in your “situation?” 

 
Adam and Melissa Kozzin’s advice to other Bearcat/Buckeye couples:
“BREATHE, but have fun! At the end of the day, it’s just a game.”

Melissa Kozzin: BREATHE, but have fun! At the end of the day, it’s just a game. Though one of the teams is going to come out with a loss, you still have each other and that’s what matters…right???

Zorya Kluska: Don't take it too seriously, and make sure someone other than you is a bigger “hater” of your spouse's team (e.g. I have plenty of Buckeye hater friends). It takes a lot of the heat off of you.

Lauren Kluska: Try to support one another! Zorya watches Buckeye games with me and my family, and even cheers!  I root for UC and attend UC games and events.  We try to make it fun, and support the universities that we feel grateful to have been able to have attended.

Mary Nicley: Whether it's OSU playing UC in football or basketball, it can be a sticky situation at times.   But we are always respectful of each other and support each other.  Yet, at the same time, we remind each other frequently who the best team is!

Are you raising your kids as Bearcats or Buckeyes?

Adam and Melissa Kozzin tell us their daughter is a born
and raised Bearckye…50%cat, 50%nut!
Melissa Kozzin: Our daughter is a born and raised Bearckye…50% cat, 50% nut!

Zorya Kluska: We have a 3-year-old, Ava, and an 18-month-old, Faith. Our girls cheer the UC fight song with me every game we watch together, but Lauren's dad has been working on them for Buckeye cheers too. Not too long ago he was trying to get our 3-year-old to say "Go Bucks" and all she would say was "Go BEARCATS!" They must have gone back and forth a dozen times until he gave up. A classic moment!


The Kuskas' daughters dressed to impress in their
“Bearckyes” cheerleading uniforms.

Lauren Kluska: I asked my 18-month-old who would win Thursday and she responded with “Buckeyes!”  Their papa and nana have definitely taught them to be little Buckeyes. They have both UC and OSU cheerleading outfits and they root for both teams!  When they see sports on TV they say, “Buckeyes? Bearcats?”  Our 3-year-old has even started saying "Bearckeyes" Our girls will grow up to be a rare breed of open-minded UC fans that love and root for the Buckeyes!

Mary Nicley: We do have two children…a son who is 7 and a daughter who is 5.   I have probably had more of an influence on them as far as what team "we" or "I" like better.  I have bought them Buckeye jerseys, t-shirts, hats,  etc ever since they were babies. On game days we put on our Buckeye shirts, our Buckeye necklaces and then listen to "Hang on Sloopy" and "Across the Field".  It's kind of a tradition that I started with them.   So, yes, the kids are more Buckeye than they are Bearcat.  We all get along thought and make the most of this divided house.  


All in good fun of course: How difficult is it to love a rival Bearcat/Buckeye during times like this? 

Melissa Kozzin: Honestly not difficult at all. If the Bearcats should pull out the win, there will be no hard feelings. Now, Adam on the other hand…he might have other thoughts!

Zorya & Lauren Kluska: Not difficult at all!

Mary Nicley: It's exciting and the rivalry is all in good fun.  Either way, a great team will win Thursday's game!  But I wouldn't be a true Buckeye if I didn't say "LET'S GO BUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Is tonight's game a win-win for you and your significant other too? Comment below to tell us how you're feeling about tonight's game!

Bearcats & Buckeyes: A Match-Up Made in Heaven, Part 1

One might think today’s Bearcats vs. Buckeyes NCAA match-up wouldn't be so “sweet” a tradition for couples divided by their opposing alma mater allegiances. But for a few brave souls who have made one of life’s greatest commitments to one of their proclaimed "rivals", today’s battle of the bUCkeyes may actually prove to be – like them – more of a match-up made in heaven.

Today’s exclusive “Sweet Sixteen” blog post series brings you an inside look at how six devoted Bearcat/Buckeye couples are preparing for tonight’s big game and not letting one of the tournament’s most celebrated match-ups come between them. Enjoy their spirited (and sometimes hilarious) responses below. If you’re facing a similar “house-divided” dilemma under your own roof, consider taking their advice before tonight’s big tip-off. As one couple said: "There will be other games."


And of course, at the risk of losing the attention of any Buckeyes reading this post (not to mention spoiling our unbiased credibility)…we must stand committed to our own allegiance and say, “Go Bearcats!”




Meet our couples...

John (UC) & Barb (OSU) Linser
Ryan (UC) & Lori (OSU) Lumm
Dave (UC) & Julie (OSU) McGinnis

One a Bearcat, the other a Buckeye…how did you possibly meet, much less fall in love?

Ryan and Lori Lumm spent their second date
at an OSU/UC football game.
Dave McGinnis: We met at our then-mutual place of employment, where I rearranged my workload to more closely coincide with hers, by which I mean that I used every flimsy and thinly-veiled excuse at my disposal to visit her office. We’ll celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary on game day.

Barb Linser: We met at the fish pond during a church festival in Zanesville, Ohio I was in the 7th grade and he was in the 9th. We have been married 32 years.

Ryan Lumm: Lori and I met shortly after I moved to Columbus for a new job. We did in fact meet at a bar in downtown Columbus and have been married now for almost 3 years. Our second date was at the OSU/UC football game the last time UC played in Columbus. I got tickets through UC so we were able to sit with fellow Bearcats. As an OSU grad and fan, Lori was outnumbered in our section but she was far from outnumbered in the stadium. Unfortunately for me, OSU won that game but we still had a great time.

How are you feeling about Thursday’s big game? Any “parting” words?

OSU grad Barb Linser with oldest son, Alex,
on his graduation day from UC’s College of Law.
Dave McGinnis: I think it’s going to be close no matter what. It is time that UC assumed its rightful position at the top of Ohio’s collegiate athletics hierarchy. Besides, we have a potentially vicious animal as a mascot. They have a tree. It’s a well known fact that the bearcat’s diet includes fruit, small animals, and TREES. And let’s be honest, there hasn’t been a scary or intimidating tree since “Poltergeist”.

Barb Linser: For my bracket and my UC alum sons, Alex and Sam, I would like UC to win, but a Buckeye win gives me bragging rights so either way I win. My son, Alex, has a JD and a bachelor’s from UC and Sam has a Physics degree from UC and is currently working on his Master’s there.

John Linser: It is OK with me if Barb roots for OSU on Thursday as long as she does it with the full knowledge that it will tear apart the hearts of her three children!

Ryan Lumm: I'm excited about Thursday's game. I've wanted to see UC play OSU in basketball since I was a student. Whenever UC is playing, Lori is always supportive. She owns some UC clothing and has attended several football and basketball games with me including the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, but this game will be different. It will be weird to cheer against each other’s Alma Mater. The only parting words I have for Lori are GO CATS!

How do you plan to watch the big game?

UC grad John Linser with his son, Sam, who followed his
dad to UC and graduated Summa Cum Laude in Physics.
Dave McGinnis: We’ll be watching at home, partly because we have young children and partly to avoid causing any sort of scene we’d later regret.

Barb Linser: From the comfort of my couch.

Ryan Lumm: Due to the late start of the game Lori and I will be watching together at home. I can envision however that she might be watching in one room while I watch in my man cave which is painted in Red and Black. (No she doesn't have an OSU room).

Lori Lumm: I think that we will both wind up watching the game at our house – hopefully in the same room, but perhaps on different couches. However, I will be sporting my Buckeye gear and Ryan will likely be in his Bearcat gear.

Who do you think will bring home the win?

Dave McGinnis: I think UC gets the win in a close and physical game.

Barb Linser: UC.

Ryan Lumm: This will be a tough matchup for the Bearcats but they have been playing great. If they keep up the defensive pressure and hit some open shots I think they stand a really good chance at beating OSU. My prediction is that the Bearcats win a close one.

Lori Lumm: I think it will be a close game. However, I think that OSU will be the victors in this match up. Go Buckeyes!

What advice would you offer to other couples in your “situation?”

Lori Lumm is not too proud a Buckeye to root for
husband Ryan’s alma mater every now and then.
Dave McGinnis: Make sure you hide your spouse’s spirit attire well before game time. Especially those buckeye necklaces they always like to wear. Most hardcore OSU fans won’t even leave the house without those on, so you can easily sabotage their game viewing plans. Also, if you have young kids, make sure you get them new UC t-shirts the day before the game so they’re excited to.

Ryan Lumm: Don’t let the game get too big. It's exciting to have these games but the fan of whichever team loses can't take it personally and the winner can't rub it in (too much). Our allegiances may differ in this game but we would never hold any resentment toward each other based on the outcome...after all there will always be another game.

Lori Lumm: Have fun and don't let it get too serious. Just remember there will always be other games. Also, whoever wins, remember not to rub it in your spouse’s face too much and try to root for their team when they are not playing against your Alma Mater. Ryan is still working on this.

Are you raising your kids as Bearcats or Buckeyes?

Dave McGinnis: That depends on which of us you ask, though I contend that I am winning the war for their collegiate allegiance at this point.

Barb Linser: I already lost that battle, having raised 2 Bearcats and a Ball State Cardinal.

Ryan Lumm: We do not currently have children but have often discussed if they would be raised as Bearcats or Buckeyes. As of now it's yet to be determined, but I'll be doing my best to raise them as Bearcats.....but that won't be easy living in Columbus.

Lori Lumm: We will be raising our future children as part Buckeye and part Bearcat. My parents who are big OSU fans and his, which are strictly Bearcat fans, will be sure of it.

All in good fun of course: How difficult is it to love a rival Bearcat/Buckeye during times like this?

UC grad Dave McGinnis posing with one of his loves,
second to wife and OSU grad, Julie.
Dave McGinnis: I knew of her checkered educational past going into the relationship, so I am fairly well adjusted at this point. I try to remember that we all made questionable decisions at that age. Being a Buckeye is her burden to bear and I love her just the same. I just try to live by a “Proudly Cincinnati” example and work to make sure our children have the tools to make better, more informed choices when they are considering their post-secondary education. :)

Barb Linser: VERY tough, but of course when the going gets tough, the tough get tougher.

Ryan Lumm: It's not difficult at all to love my wife even though she will be my rival on Thursday. Lori has always been supportive of my beloved Bearcats and always cheers them to victory. I am willing to let her have this one game to cheer for her Buckeyes.....because I know if UC wins, she will be cheering them on again in the Elite 8. I wish I could say the same for me but I have not been an OSU fan for longer than I've known Lori and old habits are hard to break, but I'm working on it.

Lori Lumm: It is never difficult to love Ryan even during these situations. And, yes, he is right in saying that even if his Bearcats win I will be rooting for them in the tournament. However, if OSU wins I can only hope that he will root for them. But, I don't think I will be so lucky. At least maybe he will try. As he said, old habits are hard to break.

Is tonight's game a win-win for you and your significant other too? Comment below to tell us how you're feeling about tonight's game!

Mar 20, 2012

UC Alumni and Fans Across the Nation Gather to Celebrate the Bearcats in the Sweet 16

The excitement is unparalleled, the anticipation overwhelming, and the rivalry stronger than ever! UC alumni and fans across the country are pumped to cheer their Bearcats on to victory as The University of Cincinnati takes on The Ohio State University in one of the most celebrated college basketball games of the year. But helping make history on such short notice was no small feat for the UC Alumni Association.

Watch this news story (courtesy of WLWT), featuring UCAA's Executive Director Myron Hughes, who explains the effect the quick turnaround has had on the association's ability to quickly plan official Sweet 16 activities for alumni nationwide. 

Speaking of alumni events, if you'll be in Boston for Thursday's game, you won't want to miss the best Bearcat party in Boston! Join your fellow alumni and friends for a pep rally featuring the UC Bearcat Band, cheerleaders, and the Bearcat himself, along with a dinner buffet, all for just $20. Register to reserve your spot now! 

Alumni and fans in other cities are also doing their part to celebrate the Bearcats' appearance in the 2012 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. Below is the most comprehensive list the UCAA has compiled to date. Check out the UC Where You Are section of the UCAA website for additional Alumni Network activities and also for network leader contact information for your city. And of course, Go Bearcats!

Official UC List of 3/22 Sweet 16 Nationwide Events

Boston
Contact: Sam Walston
Grand Canal (OFFICIAL UC Pre-game Event Location)
57 Canal St.
Boston, MA 02114
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm EST
Paid registration required

Chicago
Contact: David Watkins
O'Leary's Pub
541 N Wells
Chicago, IL 60610
8:30-11:30 pm CST

Cleveland
Contact: Branson Wright
Opus Restaurant
20126 Chagrin Blvd.
Shaker Heights, OH 44122
9:00 pm-12:00 am EST

Columbus
Contact: Stephanie Dodd
Gresso's
961 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43206
8:30 pm-12:00 am EST

Dallas
Contact: Christopher Hunter
BlackFinn
4440 Belt Line Rd.
Addison, TX 75001
8:30 pm-12:00 am EST

Denver
Contact: John Messiter
LoDo's Bar and Grill
1946 Market Street
Denver, CO 80202
7:30-10:30 pm MST

Houston
Contact: Jim Sorg
Champps Americana
1121 Uptown Park Blvd
Houston, TX 77056
8:00-11:00 pm CST

Milwaukee
Contact: Mark Kremer
Buffalo Wild Wings at Bayshore Mall
590 W. Northshore Drive
Glendale, WI 53217
8:30-10:30 pm CST

Nashville
Contact: Amy McNeil
The Tavern
1904 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203
8:00-11:00 pm CST

New York
Contact: Mj Kong
Phebe's
359 Bowery
New York, NY 10003
8:30 pm-12:00 am EST

San Diego
Contact: Lauren Eckles
East Village Tavern & Bowl
930 Market Street
San Diego, CA 92101
6:30-9:00 pm PST


San Francisco 

Contact: Chad Reid
Grand Oaks Sports Bar in Oakland 
736 Washington Street
Oakland, CA 94607
6:45-9:00 pm PST

St. Louis
Contact: Alan Robbins
Buffalo Wild Wings
12653 Olive Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63141
8:00-11:00 pm CST

Tampa Bay
Contact: Matt Carlin
Brick House Tavern & Tap
1102 North Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa, FL 33607
9:30-11:30 pm EST

Washington DC
Contact: Tim Lolli
Penn Quarter Sports Tavern
639 Indiana Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20004
8:00 pm-1:00 am EST

Questions? Please contact the UC Alumni Association at 1-877-4-UCALUM toll-free.


Where will you be watching the game on Thursday? Let us know where you'll be "Representing the C" by commenting below!

New Program Gathers Students and Alumni Around the Dinner Table

Diners take a quick photo break with their host alum,
Myron Hughes, at Clifton's Cactus Pear restaurant.
Nothing brings people together better than good food and great company! Such was the reasoning behind the UC Student Alumni Council's decision to create the all-new  "Dinner with 12 Strangers" program, which brings students and alumni together around the dinner table to make Bearcat connections across varying generations, careers and interests.

The second annual event held  this February included five dinners hosted by alumni all around Cincinnati (up from two last year). 

Even family members got in on the fun at the Uhls' dinner
hosted at their home in Sharonville.
The Student Alumni Council looks to grow the program within Cincinnati next year, and even possibly to include future alumni hosts in networks across the country too.

Thanks to this year’s alumni hosts, including:
  • Tom and Missy Uhl (Business, '85)
  • Scott and Eileen Tucker (Engineering, '83 and '91)
  • Chris and Andrea Zahumensky (Business, '98 and '00)
  • Myron Hughes and Diane Lewis (Business, '86; Evening '94 and Business, '99)
  • Richard Posey and Jeff Klump (DAAP, '85)
“We really enjoyed the students,” Zahumensky said. “They were so easy to talk to and seemed genuinely happy to be there and engage. We had a nice, diverse group across ages and student groups but still found lots of commonalities to discuss. We’d definitely participate again and would also encourage other alumni to
do the same. What a great event!”

The event provides an opportunity for students and alumni to interact in a fun and relaxing environment, while also expanding their networks and developing relationships with fellow Bearcat mentors.

“The dinner was a great opportunity to step outside my typical Saturday night and spend it with such accomplished and interesting individuals," said Ella Koachway, a current junior majoring in hospitality management. "Hearing one another speak and meeting others who are bound for successful futures encouraged me within my own journey.”


Want to host or co-host a dinner in your city the next time around? Let us know below!


Mar 16, 2012

Cleveland sportswriter and alumni network leader brings ‘Wright stuff’


UC Alum Branson Wright’s sports journalism career has
taken him from UC’s News Record to earning his own sports
column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
 In case you missed the first edition of our all-new "UC Where You Are" e-newsletter, we're featuring some of the top-read stories here on our blog. If you like what you see, check out the full issue online and then update your contact information to ensure you receive the latest version in your inbox every few months. Comment below if you have the perfect alum in mind for us to feature in our spring edition too!

Branson Wright‘s sports journalism career has taken him from UC’s News Record to northeastern Ohio working for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where he still manages to keep a close eye on Bearcats Athletics. He’s also helping keep fellow alumni connected as the new co-leader of the UC Alumni Association’s Cleveland Alumni Network.

Like virtually all alumni, Branson Wright’s professional path was altered at UC, where the aspiring sportswriter leveraged every opportunity available to make his career dreams come true.

Cleveland sportswriter and UC alum Branson Wright poses
with NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann at the East-West Shrine
College All-Star game in 1989 where UC's Andrew Stewart
was participating.
 “I grew up in Silverton in suburban Cincinnati — right across the street from [major league baseball player] Buddy Bell,” Wright says. “My dad wanted me to go to UC, but I wanted to see other places and ended up going to West Virginia. After a couple years and diminishing funds, I had to leave. An adviser at WVU suggested I go home, enroll at UC for a while, then return to Morgantown. That was my plan.”

But when Wright got to UC and started to work for The News Record, he saw that sports editor Angelique Chengelis, who now covers the University of Michigan for the Detroit News, was about to graduate. “I was ‘next in line’ and decided to stay, and that changed everything for me,” he said.

The News Record promotion helped open doors — from internships, to relationships with people in athletics, to invaluable mentoring from faculty and staff such as Eric Abercrumbie and Ken Simonson. “They knew about my dream to be a sportswriter and urged me to stay focused.”

As a result, Wright covered and became friends with many fellow Bearcats, including basketball player and future UC Alumni Association executive director Myron Hughes, who recently asked Wright to volunteer with the Cleveland Alumni Network.

While Cashmere Wright is dishing out assists for the basketball Bearcats these days, Branson Wright (no relation) notched an unofficial assist on one of the biggest buckets in UC hoops history. The first game ever played in Fifth Third Arena saw new coach Bob Huggins’ undermanned UC team beat 20th-ranked Minnesota 66-64 on a three-point buzzer-beater by Steve Sanders, a Cleveland native who had just joined the team largely on the advice Wright offered to both coach and player.

“Steve’s team of football players was my intramural basketball team’s biggest rivals — they would always beat us in the championships,” Wright recalls. “When Huggins showed up, he needed players and announced he would hold tryouts. I told him, ‘You need to look at Steve Sanders.’ Steve had completed his football eligibility, and I encouraged him to try out. So I take credit.”

When he’s not writing for the newspaper, Wright works on a film project about Dwight Anderson, a Dayton, Ohio, basketball legend who went on to play at both Kentucky and Southern California but never realized his vast potential due to a string of bad choices and personal problems. Working without a budget for three years now, Wright hopes to assemble the film in the near future.

Meanwhile, he’s bringing new energy to Cleveland-area Bearcats. Wright helped organize the most recent Crosstown Shootout game watch and hopes to come up with some creative new ways for Cleveland alums to reconnect with UC and one another. He welcomes help from other volunteers.

“I’m putting out the word — we’re looking for more involvement and some fresh ideas.”

Cleveland-area alumni can reach Wright at bwright11@aol.com.

Mar 14, 2012

Dayton Engineering Grad Pays It Forward to Young Aeronautic Enthusiasts

In case you missed the first edition of our all-new "UC Where You Are" e-newsletter, we're featuring some of the top-read stories here on our blog. If you like what you see, check out the full issue online and then update your contact information to ensure you receive the latest version in your inbox every few months. Comment below if you have the perfect alum in mind for us to feature in our spring edition too!

It’s not often that a kid can invite friends and family to an Air Show featuring his or her own airplane in flight. But that’s what happens at the end of College of Engineering grad Dale Whitford’s 15-week Model Airplane Building and Flying Program, open to any child in grades 4 to 12.

After 41 years of a remarkable career at the University of Dayton Research Institute, Whitford’s UC co-op experience inspired him to launch his aeronautics education program for youth. For the past fifteen years in a church gymnasium, Whitford and his team of volunteers have taught approximately 600 children about flight and engineering through hands-on weekly classes. Once a year for 15 weeks, children representing 15 different schools in the Dayton area learn how to read mechanical drawings, build a model plane, and study the principles of flight. The program culminates in a final Air Show, where kids fly their miniature aircraft in front of an audience.

Engineering grad Dale Whitford launched his youth model
airplane building program to share his lifelong passion for
airplanes with young aeronautical enthusiasts.
 According to Whitford, “When we first got married, my wife was uneasy about my flying, so I continued my hobby of model building from childhood. I taught my two young sons to build models, and eventually my grandchildren, and then some other kids. In 1998, our church asked the congregation for ideas for uses of the gym other than athletics.  I suggested the model building program to seed engineering interest in kids, and in September of that year I recruited my first class of 23 kids. The church loves it, the kids and volunteers love it, and I’ve never looked back.”

Whitford’s remarkable career and retirement followed a unique college recruitment experience. When the aspiring aeronautical engineer spoke to the dean of Engineering at the University of Tulsa, he told the young Whitford he belonged in a more impressive program than what Tulsa had to offer –the engineering school at the University of Cincinnati. And so it was that yet sight unseen, a mere three weeks after ending his Navy tour, Whitford walked on to UC’s campus.

After graduating from UC in the spring of 1951, Whitford married his (now) wife Sylvia the following day. With 13 job offers to choose from, Whitford accepted a full-time position at a small engineering firm in New Jersey. After six months, Whitford’s last supervisor at Wright Field contacted him and said he had recommended Whitford to University of Dayton officials for employment on a new government-sponsored research project that had been awarded to the University of Dayton.  Whitford and four other engineers launched Project Delta, a nuclear weapons testing project where he was involved in testing the effects of nuclear explosions on military aircraft.

Students of Whitford’s 3-month model airplane building
session at his home in Dayton show off their model airplanes.
These days, in addition to teaching children aerospace techniques, Whitford, the perennial educator, also instructs at the University of Dayton’s Lifelong Learning Institute. Whitford is also a published author on a variety of topics, including nuclear research, the Wright Brothers and jet engine history.

At least three of the Model Airplane Building and Flying Program graduates have gone on to pursue successful engineering careers, two of which attended the University of Cincinnati. UC President Gregory Williams successfully nominated Whitford for a “Co-Op Hall of Fame” award in 2011 by WACE (Advancing Cooperative and Work-Integrated Education), an honor that the dedicated UC alum considers a favorite lifetime achievement.

“I consider myself lucky to have known so early on what I wanted for a career when I grew up and then to have had so many opportunities to make that dream a reality,” Whitford said. “For me, the greatest satisfaction in leading the youth flying program is seeing that same spark of interest in the kids.”

Mar 8, 2012

Cindy Chiang: One 'Amazing' Chicago Bearcat


Cindy Chiang (Engineering, 2004) and fiancé Ernie Halvorsen
earned $1 million after being named co-champions of CBS’s
19th season of The Amazing Race.
 In case you missed the first edition of our all-new "UC Where You Are" e-newsletter, we're featuring some of the top-read stories here on our blog. If you like what you see, check out the full issue online and then update your contact information to ensure you receive the latest version in your inbox every few months. Comment below if you have the perfect alum in mind for us to feature in our spring edition too!

Meet University of Cincinnati alumna Cindy Chiang and her fianc√© Ernie Halvorsen, both inspirational winners of CBS’s 19th season of The Amazing Race.
Before becoming a UC alum, Cindy earned her undergraduate degree as an honors student in biomedical engineering and was involved in as many activities as she could cram into a week. A member of Chi Omega sorority, Sigma Phi women’s honorary, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, Golden Key, and president of both the Women’s Panhellenic Association and CWEST (Cincinnati Women for Excellence and Spirit Together), Cindy made the seemingly impossible schedule part of her daily routine.

Fast forward to 2011--Cindy and Ernie watched the Amazing Race together for several seasons before Cindy suggested they submit an entry. Shortly thereafter, the newly engaged couple received notice that they were to be race contestants. The two travelled and competed in the televised contest for 23 days -- to twenty cities on four continents. Using clues provided at each leg of the journey, Cindy, Ernie and the other contestants performed prescribed tasks and raced off to their next destinations.  In the end, Cindy and Ernie handily won The Race—receiving $1 million and announcing their honorable intent to dedicate the funds to improving the lives of children worldwide.
The case of The Amazing Race, Season 19.

Cindy credits serving on the Student Alumni Council (SAC) as one of her favorite college experiences. Cindy recalls her time with UC SAC fondly because of the relationships she built with a broad cross-section of students, as well as alumni. Despite her involvement and growing confidence, Cindy knew she would be at the bottom of any professional hierarchy upon graduation. In order to be most competitive in the job market, she connected with three alumnae mentors: Kristin Bush, Heather Borchers Rogers and Caty Grzymajlo. Under their influence, she decided to work for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati.

Now grateful that she “couldn’t say no to volunteerism” as an undergraduate, Cindy knows the relationships she built with alumni as a student have had a tremendous impact on her life. Through that network, she not only carved out a meaningful career path, but also discovered the value in staying connected to the UC Alumni Association (UCAA).
Now a Chicago resident working for Kraft Foods, Cindy’s plans for the future are a perfect combination of the values and integrity she developed over time while both an undergrad and alumna at UC.  She and Ernie are using their Amazing Race award funds to build a business that will encourage American youth to live a healthier lifestyle. Cindy and Ernie’s young athletes’ program will support academic scholarships for educating youth around the world.  
Cindy and Ernie competing in Amazing Race.

In her not-so-spare time, Cindy serves on the UCAA’s strategic mission and goals committee. Ask Cindy what UCAA means to her, and she’s likely to tell you that everyone involved with the UC Alumni Association has affected her life.

According to Cindy “I’ve met some really inspirational alumni who challenged me to dream big and go for it. If it weren’t for the advice of UC alumni, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”